02 May 2022

Dr Elena Agudio takes over as director of the Villa Romana in Florence from December 2022

The Board of Villa Romana e.V. is very pleased to announce that Dr Elena Agudio will become director of Villa Romana as of December 2022, following Angelika Stepken.

Appointed director of the Villa Romana in 2006, Stepken has very decisively built the international reputation of the Villa Romana with her outstanding work, her exhibitions, her very successful programme. Many of the Villa Romana fellows of the last 15 years are actively shaping the contemporary international art landscape. The Board of Villa Romana e.V. is certain that Dr Elena Agudio will ensure to continue this exemplary work in her very own fashion.

Dr Elena Agudio is an art historian, author, curator and mother of two children. She studied art history at the University of Venice - Ca' Foscari and holds a PhD in contemporary art and design from the University of Palermo. Since 2013 she has been Artistic Co-Director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin, where she conceived, curated and co-curated exhibition projects, discursive programmes, and event series, including most recently:

For the Phoenix to Find Its Form in Us. On Restitution, Reparation and Rehabilitation (2021); Ultrasanity. On Madness, Sanitation, Antipsychiatry and Resistance (2019); Soil is an Inscribed Body. On Sovereignty and Agropoetics (2019); and the Speaking Feminisms/We Who Are Not The Same series (2016-2018).

She is also the Artistic Director of the non-profit Association of Neuroesthetics (AoN)_A Platform for Art and Neuroscience, a project in collaboration with Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and The School of Mind and Brain at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Dr Elena Agudio teaches art theory at weißensee kunsthochschule berlin, since 2020 in the MA course Spatial Strategies - Raumstrategien and before that in the *foundationClass and Foundation Course. She was a visiting professor at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts (HFBK) and a resident fellow at Helsinki University of the Arts.

Her work is dedicated to unfolding curatorial and artistic practices as forms of questioning and troubling, exploring the disruptive force of collective imagination and enacting other forms of co-habitation and togetherness. Together with colleagues, her work has focused on convivial, hospital care-work and commoning, on making a home for migrant and diasporic realities, conjuring alternative imaginaries and practices of living and co-existence with the more-than-human worlds.

For the Villa Romana in Florence, she has developed a concept that unfolds processes of repair and disruption: A House for Mending, Troubling, and Repairing. Her concept envisages dedicating practices of radical and planetary repairing to an asymmetrical present. The question of how we come together in a world that divides us is central to this.

Dr Elena Agudio: "I would like to thank Villa Romana e.V. and the appointment committee for the trust they have placed in my idea of the possibilities of an artists' house in the 21st century. The world has changed since 1905 and the Villa has been a witness to the essential breaks in the short 20th century. And suddenly, it seems, we and the Villa are again in the midst of a turning point. For my interest in working with and for artists, Villa Romana is the ideal place and I look forward to working at this exemplary institution."

Dr Brigitte Oetker, Chair of the Board of Villa Romana e.V., comments: "Dr Elena Agudio has been Co-Director of SAVVY Contemporary in Berlin for almost ten years and has helped to establish it as an important new institution in the city with an impact far beyond Berlin.

Both with her work at SAVVY and in her work for the Association of Neuroesthetics (AoN)_Platform for Art and Neuroscience in cooperation with the Charité and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, she has always thought interdisciplinarily and looked beyond the more narrow context of art.

It is also important to the Board that Dr Elena Agudio, who has already been a guest curator at the Villa in the past, builds on Angelika Stepken's work, her diverse projects and initiatives and, taking the respective Villa Romana Fellows as a starting point, wants to establish the house even more strongly in Italy and beyond.

We are very pleased that we were able to win Dr Elena Agudio from the large number of outstanding international applicants. Not least because she promises to continue successfully the history of Villa Romana with her naturally lived understanding of warm hospitality."
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Julia Schleicher, Assistant to the Board / Villa Romana, at any time: